Anti-received knowledge

October 2022 Forums General discussion Anti-received knowledge

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    <p dir=”ltr”>Anti-science is spreading among thousands – yes, thousands – of young and early middle-aged adults.</p>
    <p dir=”ltr”>I’ve always come across religious creationists, but they seem a minority here compared with avowedly non-Christian creationist geocentrists and evolution-denyers, even dinosaur-denyers, whose source of misinformation is 100% digital.
    They have the same, if not more, missionary zeal as religious fundamentalists.
    Those who don’t have to put up in disgruntled silence with their endless proselytizing and ridiculing can laugh it off, but it is hard to do that when in frequent proximity.</p>
    <p dir=”ltr”>Reason is useless against their nonsense. They reject all received knowledge and insist their own eyes are their only authority. Hence, anything from books is laughed off as “conspiracy.”
    Ironically, they repeat unquestioningly the nonsense of their gurus.</p>
    <p dir=”ltr”>Any suggestions, other than “Ignore them!” – which isn’t possible?</p>

    Bijou Drains

    I find taking the piss out of them works quite well.

    Ridicule the fact that they take an anti science stance whilst happily using their science based iPhones and web sites.

    Call them hypocrites who denounce science but reach for the medicine cabinet as soon as they get a cough or a cold.

    Ask them why they don’t trust conventional science but are happy to rely on it when they are being thrust through the air at hundreds of miles an hour in aircraft that rely on the findings of that science.

    The problem with these types of fuck wits is that they cherry pick the science they disregard. They will denounce vaccination but if they get cancer or another serious health condition they are quick to return to conventional medicine.

    A good technique borrowed from work carried out with people who have paranoid personality issues is reality testing. Test out acknowledged facts that you and they both share and then develop the themes.

    In line with this I ask them about the mechanics of their so called conspiracy theories. If the conspiracy theory involves all palaeontologists, all of the people working in medical research, all of the people in all of the areas of science they think are being manipulated it is a conspiracy involving a considerable proportion of the world’s population, how do all of those people get involved in such a wide spread conspiracy, who pays them and coordinates them, and also if there are that many people involved it’s not really a conspiracy, is it.

    Also if these all powerful sources are involved in such a wide spread conspiracy, how come they don’t have the power to shut down the kind of pissy little websites run by a spotty loner in some god forsaken mid west town, which is usually the source of these conspiracy theories.

    If you really want to screw with their minds tell them that all of these conspiracy theories are being created as a smoke screen for the real conspiracy and then tap your nose in a knowing fashion.


    A real science and general site I write for, comrades, but in the Provencal language!

    My articles under Anthony Walker.

    If you read Spanish or French, the gist isn’t difficult. 🙂




    Bijou Drains wrote “I find taking the piss out of them works quite well.

    Ridicule the fact that they take an anti science stance whilst happily using their science based iPhones and web sites.

    Call them hypocrites who denounce science but reach for the medicine cabinet as soon as they get a cough or a cold.

    Ask them why they don’t trust conventional science but are happy to rely on it when they are being thrust through the air at hundreds of miles an hour in aircraft that rely on the findings of that science.

    The problem with these types of fuck wits is that they cherry pick the science they disregard. They will denounce vaccination but if they get cancer or another serious health condition they are quick to return to conventional medicine.

    Whilst I don’t have any time for god-botherers, BD, I think that you’re seriously underestimating the problems in ‘science’, which allow the religious and the ignorant to build their influence amongst ‘the young and early middle-aged adults’.

    FWIW, I’d prefix, what you call ‘science’, as ‘Bourgeois Science’, and point out its historical and social origins in the defeat of the revolutionaries during the English Revolution, which are also the source of its fundamental problems, the sort of problems that have been apparent in, for example, physics, maths and logic, since the end of the 19th century.

    I’d contrast that ‘science’ with ‘Proletarian Science’, which has both a democratic method and entirely different ‘scientific’ aims and purposes.

    I think your scorn, whilst I can understand it, will do nothing to build a viable alternative ‘science’ which would be our socio-historical method within socialism.

    Whatever, it’s clear that ‘science’ (ie., Bourgeois Science) only supports and strengthens the current ruling class, and we should be trying to pose an alternative to both Bourgeois Science and ignorant pseudo-science.

    Matthew Culbert

    A real science and general site I write for, comrades, but in the Provencal language!

    My articles under Anthony Walker.

    If you read Spanish or French, the gist isn’t difficult. 🙂

    If you don’t speak any of those. The Google browser Translate tool will allow for a rough translation for the general gist. 🙂


    It is important to strike a happy medium when speaking of medicine. There is polarisation there, with champions of “alternatives” on one hand, and champions of allopathic establishment medicine on the other.
    We must not forget that the medical industry is a capitalist industry. The profiteers with a hand in pharmaceuticals are in it to accumulate capital. The “alternative” medicine business is small fry by comparison with this.

    I was in fact referring not to anti-vaccination conspiracists but to flat earthers, anti-darwinists and creationists.
    The “alternative” medicine lobby is full, indeed, of conspiracy theorists, and the penchant among them for conspiracism and the swallowing of crazy looney-tune ideas gives ammunition to those who are in the allopathic business for making money. The attraction of conspiracism is of course due to socio-historical ignorance. But socialists should be aware that medicine is not exempt from capitalism. Logically, within this system of society, if your interest lies in selling pharmaceuticals, mass illness is profitable, whereas curing disease may threaten to be unprofitable. You want a market for medicines, which means the perpetuation of disease. But if you are a capitalist relying on workers being fit to work, you don’t want mass illness. Likewise, researchers like the kudos of a “breakthrough,” as long as profits don’t then dry up.   (   Contradictions within the anarchy that is the capitalist system?)
    There are the manufacturers of equipment, of drugs, of restraining devices for vivisection labs. And all this without considering those with money invested also in manufacturing disease for use in war.
    Capital is at the root of it all. But this is not conspiracy theory, it is capitalist reality.
    Whilst modern medicine is essential in many areas, it is also the biggest killer of humans today, more so even than war.
    The profit system requires endless production of drugs, to cope with disease that drugs and other aspects of the capitalist system have caused. Longevity is pursued for the sake of profit (continued consumption of pharmaceuticals), with quality of life often rendered non-existent. Ancient manias receive new life too, with the likes of head-transplanters announcing the arrival at last, via their crazed “science”, of “eternal life.”
    So-called scientists have received applause and grants for craziness (animal head transplants; the use of dogs to see how long it would have taken to die by crucifixion; the electrocution of baboons to “prove” inherent aggression by turning them, crazed, on each other; the transplanting of an extra head on a dog … and these only four examples, among hundreds, of mainstream “medical science” – funded by governments and awarded by universities).

    One doesn’t need conspiracy theories at all when the horrors of capitalism are surely enough.

    We need a society without money, where medicine’s incentive is health and wellbeing. Such a society would concentrate on prevention of disease, based on scientific understanding, not an endless production of drugs for “coping” with perpetual disease and ill health due to a ravaging system based on capital. Charlatanism would lose its reason for existence, whether allopathic or “alternative.” This division, even, would no longer exist.



    What can be called in short-hand Big Pharma is indeed fully integrated within the profit seeking and capital accumulation economic system and their paid lobbyists entrenched within the political system . However, unlike many in the CAM market, it is subject to a scientific process and scrutiny. Its failings do get exposed by other scientists, no matter how belatedly. And much of their goals is not so much scientific fraud but price-fixing. Insulin costs are a recently highlighted  example.

    The capitalist business model for new drugs encourages Big Pharma to bury risks and exaggerate benefits. A new drug under patent has a high price and no competition, and will make millions or even billions every year it is under patent. A settlement for death or injuries down the road is a nuisance and just the cost of doing business. This business plan breeds shameless repeat offenders since the company makes money and no one go to jail.

    But we see also that every scientific discipline are also subject to that bias and pressure , as we currently see with aeronautical engineering. Big Ag is another behemoth entity gambling with people’s health to make a profit.

    Big Pharma aren’t the only corporations that is ripping the people off big time. It is simply that Big Pharma is just more disgusting because it directly impacts a person’s health, in addition to their wallet. They are creating a nation of prescription drug addicts by making normal human behaviors a disease or a syndrome.

    Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is big business. Americans spent more than $30 billion on alternative therapies in 2012. That includes treatments such as homeopathy and acupuncture as well as supplements, yoga and meditation. 59 million Americans sought out some type of alternative therapy. Researchers found of the $30.2 billion, about $28 billion was spent on adults, compared to $1.9 billion for children. One out of five Americans spent money on at least one type of alternative therapy, which could include practices such as Ayurveda, biofeedback, chelation therapy, chiropractic manipulation, energy healing therapy, tai chi, hypnosis, naturopathy, progressive relaxation and massage therapy. Despite the lack of data confirming the therapeutic benefits, the alternative medicine industry is continuing to grow in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world. India is in even a worse situation where the poor rely on non-doctor doctors.

    Our criticism is not the scientific validity of drugs and pills and treatments (although as mentioned many so-called illnesses are invented ones) but the integrity of those within the pharmaceutical industry who place profit before people. Everything touched by capitalism is tainted. And our purpose is to provide the links and connections – to unify all the failings and faults and flaws into one overall critique. That is a tall order for a global organization of 300


    There again, we should be wary of occidentalocentrism (!) as of orientalocentrism, take the good of both allocentric and non-allocentric, and repudiate quackery in both. There is no doubt that much of herbalism is valid, and the word “drug” itself comes from Dutch, meaning herbs and grasses.
    We have dichotomy and division because we are not yet a true society. We’ve inherited colonial attitudes without knowing it, plus we have lost much that was good and useful in the west too prior to capitalism.
    The psychology of conquest is still at the root of western thinking, and Marx inherited the bourgeois progressivism of his time.
    I think many in the party inherit this too.


    <p dir=”ltr”>All social animals rely on received knowledge, passed down through generations. As they discover better ways of doing things, better information, better habits, these all get passed down.
    In the realm of human information, this is what books are. Received knowledge.
    As we get to know more about the natural and the social world, this gets written down. New information renders some former opinions and traditional ideas defunct. Prejudices continue to resist, and continue to claim adherents, but what has been proven is also written down, and can be used to expose prejudice, folly, and outdated notions.
    All thanks to books.
    Gravity. Fact.
    Evolution. Fact.
    Heliocentrism. Fact.
    But facts that the majority, not being astronomers, physicists, biologists, etc., still have to take on faith.
    Just as once geocentrism and creation were taken on faith.
    Received knowledge – constantly revised through the generations. Books.
    So, must I say to the flat-earther and the creationist who rejects my received knowledge and my books, and insists that I can only assert what I see for myself, without books,
    “Wait a few years, please, until I build myself a spacecraft to see for myself”?
    No. I take my knowledge from books and from what astronomers and physicists tell me. I sift the information, then, philosophically in the light of my reason.
    “Piffle!” says the flat earther.
    “You don’t know! You’re just brainwashed by others!”</p>
    <p dir=”ltr”>But without received knowledge, and the faith and trust it requires, there can be no progress in anything: since everyone born must ignore books and find things out from scratch.</p>
    <p dir=”ltr”>No, the answer is to use one’s reason to put one’s faith in some rather than others, subjecting each conclusion and belief to subjective logic.</p>


    Ideology vs philosophy.

    My letter to a conspiracy-theorist:
    <p dir=”ltr”>One can be brainwashed by minority, alternative, media too.
    Cults are minorities. Some are very small.
    The difference between brainwashing and thought is the difference between ideology and philosophy.
    The ideologist adopts instantly the entire credo of a group because of an emotional / romantic / image-based need, or a need to belong.
    This is what the “phases” of adolescents are, seeking belonging, or seduced by imagery.
    It is true that most, having passed through this stage, and being working-class (99% of the world’s population are working class), have little time on their hands for thought beyond that of working for their living and struggling to raise families etc. Life under capitalism means it is convenient to rely on mainstream media, and hence be patriotic and trusting of whichever nation-state apparatus governs them and the news it puts out.
    Minorities, some small, some large, will seek belonging, still, in groups and cults which, demonstrating some “rebelliousness” or “difference” from “the herd” give them the sense of belonging through difference. Such are converts to religions, racist groups, anything that has a leader or pundit to follow, and by following, belong. For some, the more outrageous and the more reviled, the better.
    All these are <i>ideology</i>.</p>
    <p dir=”ltr”>Philosophy, however, is very different from ideology.
    The philosopher does not accept the entirety of someone else’s thought, nor reject that entirety, on the basis of agreement or disagreement in one or two particulars. A philosopher does not require leaders to follow. S/he does not wish to lead. S/he is not interested in imagery. S/he doesn’t care about belonging to anything. S/he may be mistaken in things, but cannot be brainwashed. There is no danger for the philosopher in listening to or watching or reading <i>any</i> media or propaganda.
    S/he is not susceptible to brainwashing, neither by the state nor by any cult, neither by the majority nor any minority.
    The only way to damage the philosopher is to physically do so, by violence applied to the brain.
    The philosopher <i>sifts</i> information in the light of views – philosophy – developed through the course of their lifetime. This is why philosophers usually disagree about most things. If s/he joins a group it is not to find belonging; it is not because of any need to be in a group. It is purely because of a shared interest.
    The philosopher does not <i>abdicate</i> his/her thought in order to <i>be part of</i> a group or party.</p>

    <p dir=”ltr”>Conspiracism is a cult. It may not be a physical institution, with any particular leader, but that only gives it more appeal. It attracts many who feel disenfranchised, who lack learning and are already<i>followers</i> of packaged ideologies, such as religious fundamentalists and internet groupies.
    The decline of book-reading and its replacement with digital skimming and electronic entertainment has boosted gullibility for conspiracist conclusions, which are part and parcel of anti-intellectualism. The obsession with self-promotion, coupled with ignorance, is also a factor, as is the need to <i>belong</i> to a group.
    Received knowledge has no value to those who are defeated by learning, but who equally fear isolation and “insignificance.”
    The conspiracist, having no understanding of historical materialism, sees society as a “Dick Dastardly” plot: an “invention” of  an evil organisation, either human, or extra-terrestrial!</p>
    <p dir=”ltr”>These are the ingredients which make a cult-follower.</p>


    Not sure it is the correct thread topic but anyways.

    “…Frustrated by more than a decade of research which claims to reveal intentions, feelings and even consciousness in plants, more traditionally minded botanists have finally snapped. Plants, they protest, are emphatically not conscious…”

    “…Bothered by claims that plants have “brain-like command centres” in their root tips, and possess the equivalent of animal nervous systems, the critics counter there is no proof of sentient vegetation or structures within plants…”

    “…Taiz believes the rise of plant neurobiology is driven by the environmental crisis that poses an ever-increasing threat to life on Earth.
    “They want to raise people’s consciousness about plants as living organisms and reach them on an emotional level. I’m very sympathetic to the motivations, but it is clouding their objectivity. They have to be prepared for the fact that plants may not have consciousness,” he said. “It’s bad science. It takes the whole scientific enterprise and reduces its credibility.” “


    “If you accept the literal truth of every word in the Bible, then the Earth must be flat. The same is true for the Qu’ran. Pronouncing the Earth round then means you’re an atheist. In 1993, the supreme religious authority of Saudi Arabia, Sheik Abdel-Aziz Ibn Baaz, issued an edict, or fatwa, declaring that the world is flat. Anyone of the round persuasion does not believe in God and should be punished.  Among many ironies, the lucid evidence that the Earth is a sphere … was transmitted to the west by astronomers who were Muslim and Arab.”

    Carl Sagan.

    Only 9% of Americans accept evolution without input from God. 45% accept it with Godly input, which is still less than half. The majority reject evolution.
    Worldwide, more than half the population must reject it. I still recall the chuckles of an Egyptian fellow student at a Swiss university when he heard I was a Darwinist and did not believe in Adam and Eve.


    Re: manipulation via the internet. That can only work on those with no book-learning, pre-internet background, no pre-internet reserves of knowledge, study and thought. Returning to real books will defeat the web manipulators.

    We may have patted ourselves on the back when the USSR collapsed, at last not having to hear “Go back to Russia!” However, now, with internet addiction, we not only have to fight for socialism, we have to fight again for Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo and Darwin!

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